Patriots Flag Football: Rich's Fifth Pick


Episode V: The Empire Keeps Striking Back

You know the drill at this point. Rob Gronkowski. Chandler Jones. Ras-I Dowling. Mark Harrison. I might as well make Godzilla and King Kong my final two picks.

But I'm like Belichick. I'm not doing what you'd expect. I jumped on some injury-prone talent that might have slipped through the cracks. They're all stud athletes and two way players. But when drawing up my team, I realized a couple things:

1. I don't have a second corner. Dowling is one. Harrison is a safety. Gronk and Jones will be playing in the flat or rushing the quarterback. Jamie Collins will be roving the middle. All of the top defensive backs are off the table (Devin McCourty, Aqib Talib, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Adrian Wilson, Logan Ryan), and while I could go with Steve Gregory or Marquice Cole, I'm also clearly missing...

2. A gadget player. It's pretty clear that the other teams went after the versatile guys (Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman) in the first two rounds, while I went after the big athletes. Some of the other wild cards (Mathew Slater, Leon Washington) came off in the middle rounds.

Well, the draft is coming to a close and I need a defensive back who can be my gadget player: the best solution is the rugby sensation Nate Ebner.

Ebner is not a stud at football. He's good on special teams, but he's sub-par on defense. But what he is supremely talented at is being an athlete. The former two-time USA Rugby Juniors MVP is a top-notch athlete, through and through, and I'm guessing that if you get the ball in his hands, he's going to find a way to make a play- which basically makes him a great talent for running back in flag football.

On defense, I'm expecting Ebner to step up big time to be my second corner. Will he succeed? Well, let's cheat Harrison over to Ebner's side at safety and let Gronk slide to underneath coverage to help out Ebner and maybe he'll be serviceable. I won't hold my breath.

But his athletic capability can't be denied and his potential is far too great for him to remain on the table at this point.

Ebner might never be a stud on the defensive side of the field, but he was built to dominate this game of flag football. He will be my gadget and he will make magic happen.

At the very least, give me some credit for how awesome of a picture heads this article.

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